Defense falls apart at the end of the road.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 5 goals on 18 shots. The stat line looks terrible but there was really only one goal I felt was one that he'd definitely want back. With that said, part of being an elite goaltender is keeping your team in contact and at least giving them a chance by making 1-2 key stops. He didn't do that tonight by allowing the team to fall behind by 3 in the Third Period, which is almost always a death sentence.
10:53 TB Palat (15), (Johnson)
16:21 COL MacKinnon (10), (Landeskog)
3:10 COL MacKinnon (11), (O'Reilly, Barrie)
3:39 COL Duchene (16), (unassisted)
5:51 TB Johnson (23), (Kucherov, Killorn)
12:50 COL MacKinnon (12), (O'Reilly)
7:20 COL Tanguay (16), (Everberg)
11:43 TB Connolly (12), (Filppula, Paquette)
18:58 TB Kucherov (23), (Johnson, Hedman)
In the universe I come from, if you score 4 goals and hold your opponent to 18 shots, you should win. The only time that doesn't happen is when you have self-inflicted wounds like really terrible turnovers against a skilled team. And, that's what happened tonight. This youthful defense the Lightning have patched together with Carle and Gudas out has been such a mixed bag. They'll play 2-3 decent games and then absolutely wet the bed like they did tonight. Nesterov, Barberio, and Hedman each had plays I think they'd want back, and it really burned the Lightning hard tonight.
Hedman's inclusion on the goat horn list is particularly vexing given what I've said about best players needing to be best players. So is Steven Stamkos checking in at -3 and 31% on draws. Were both guys so awful they should be traded? No, but as I've said those two guys really need to start being the Lightning's top players night in and night out. Stamkos is the engine that makes Callahan go, and the young defense just seems to go as Hedman goes. God bless the Palat/Johnson/Kucherov line, but I don't want them to have to carry the team in the playoffs and I don't want a guy like Stralman or Garrison to have to play over their head. Stamkos and Hedman are trophy-winning caliber talents who need to start playing like it. I'm not saying it to be mean or to run the guys out of town, it's just the expectations have to rise now.
It's too bad. Winning 4 of 5 on this road trip would've been a wildly successful outcome. 3 out of 5 is minimally acceptable, but leaving 2 winnable points on the ice like the team did tonight will ultimately cost them an Atlantic Division banner at the end of the year, barring them finding their next gear.
Nikita Nesterov had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 14:29. He and Garrison got split on MacKinnon's first goal and he made the absolutely horrible turnover of Duchene's goal. That turnover gets you demoted on a lot of teams. As it is, it might get him a seat in the pressbox, at least.
Number one, with a bullet.
Allen York stopped 26 of 29 shots for the Crunch to cap their 3 win weekend.
SYR Namestnikov, (11) (Koekkoek, Corrente), 6:14
SYR Corrente, (2) (Gourde, Mormina), 17:54
SYR Smith, (11) (Richard, Namestnikov), 16:46
RCH Reid, (8) (Tuzzolino, Leduc), 16:57
SYR Namestnikov, (12) (Marchessault), 18:11
RCH Varone, (13) (Irwin, Burt), 19:58 (PP)
RCH D'Amigo, (9) (Irwin, Austin), 8:33
Vladislav Namestnikov and Matthew Corrente were the game's first and second stars. They've been usual suspects of late when three stars get announced. Namestnikov now had 30 points in 31 games. The Lightning will need to make room for him up top next season, because he's wearing this level out.
When you wake up tomorrow, the Syracuse Crunch will have the most points in the AHL. Nice. If they had a functional power play, they'd be untouchable.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Chelyabinsk 2 vs. Magnitogorsk 4
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Win, 18/20, 2.01 GAA, .900 sv%
Season totals: 51 GP, 32-10-6, 5 SO, 1.86 GAA, .934 sv%
Ex-Caps 4th rounder Oskar Osala had an insurance goal for Magnitka as they cruised to a 4-2 win over Traktor Chelyabinsk. Ex-Flyers 3rd rounder Stefan Ruzicka had a goal in defeat for Traktor.
Khanty-Mansiysk 1 vs. Ekaterinburg 0
Nikita Gusev. Khanty-Mansiysk, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 54 GP, 20-16-36, +1, 12 PIM
Nikita Gusev had the primary assist on ex-Stars defenseman Philip Larsen's game winner in Yugra's 1-0 victory over Ekateriburg. Gusev played 17:46 in the match. The secondary assist on the game's lone tally went to ex-NHLer Alexander Korolyuk. Ex-Wild third rounder Barry Brust turned aside all 29 shots he faced for the shutout.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Sherbrooke Phoenix 2 @ Chicoutimi Sagueneens 1
C Cameron Darcy, SHR: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 15/24 FO, 3 Hits
With Sherbrooke: 27 GP, 16-21-37, -7, 28 PIM
With Cape Breton: 19 GP, 1-13-14, -6, 14 PIM
Season totals: 46 GP, 17-34-51, -12, 44 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 65 GP, 35-47-82, +3, 51 PIM
Sherbrooke got a goal early in the third period to break a 1-1 tie. Darcy led the Phoenix in hits on Sunday.
Quebec Remparts 0 @ Val-d’Or Foreurs 6
W Adam Erne, QUE: 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM, 6 SOG, 3/6 FO, 0 Hits
Season totals: 52 GP, 37-38-75, +18, 89 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM
Erne had his five-game goal streak snapped by the Foreurs, who shut out Quebec, 6-0, on Sunday. Val-d’Or started the game 11 points behind Quebec on the league table.
Sparta Praha 2 vs. Parbudice 1
Jaroslav Janus, Sparta Praha, DNP
Season totals (CZE): 3 GP, 1-1-0, 0 SO, 4.10 GAA, .864 sv%
Season totals (KHL): 25 GP, 6-12-5, 2 SO, 3.01 GAA, .891 sv%
Ex-Leafs 5th round defenseman Juraj Mikus scored the game winner for Sparta Praha in their 2-1 victory over Parbudice. Jaroslav Janus sat backup to starter Filip Novotny, who had to turn away just 16 shots to get the win.